Teaching a 5 yr old to skate...
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03-14-2007, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
I highley discourage learning first in figure skates if you intend on going to hockey skates later. The difference in the skate radius is a huge issue in switching between the two, as is the different construction of the boot. The toe picks at the front of figure skates are also problematic for learning a proper stride.
Kids tend to try everything on the ice to make themselves move until they find something that works. Using toe picks to push off of is the easiest way for kids to go fast when they are learning, but it teaches the wrong stride method and will mess your kid up for a while.
As others have said, getting comfortable in his skates is the most important thing when learning to skate. If his feet hurt like hell everytime he's in his skates, he will equate skates with bad, and thus not want to skate.
First off, I would suggest enroling him in skating lessons, and getting on the ice as much as possible.
Secondly, I would suggest (in conjunction with the first point, or even in place of it) getting a pair of skates with good ankle support and a pair of skate guards. Practice standing, walking, and really just balancing on two blades at home before you go to the rink. Also do the same thing in the lobby without the skate guards on before you hit the ice. Simply put, if your son can't stand, balance, and walk around on land, he's got no chance on the ice.
When you get on the ice, the best way to help him skate around is if you're in front of him (skating backwards), with your hands out in front of your son to hold on to as opposed to you skating behind him and holding him up by his shoulders. This forces him to depend more on himself for balance than on you, and lets you control how much support you are actually giving him (ie holding him up, or just giving him a balance point).
Also start with "marching on the ice" and don't worry about the push glide sequence (regular stride) until your son his confidently moving around the ice. Emphasize picking the knees up high, and turning the toes slightly out (for traction on the ice). Try using keywords to get him to do what you want such as "stomping around like a t-rex." You'll also want to get him to put his arms up like wings to help with balance once he is able to go without your help for a bit.
Try the above; this should be good for the first few weeks. If you have any other questions, let me know. I've taught skating lessons for the last 7 years, so I've got a bit of experience.
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